LDF asks govt to decide on WB loan to LBs

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 10 (UNI) The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala today asked the government to decide on the World Bank loan to the local bodies as part of its International Development Assistance after discussions with the Bank authorities.

''The LDF asks the government to hold discussions with the World Bank before deciding on loans,'' convener Vaikom Vishwam told reporters here after the Front meeting.

''The conditions for the loan were unavailable. One of the major attractions is the low interest rate of 0.25 per cent and the long instalment period. The government has been asked to take a decision only after looking into very aspect of the conditions and if it was really beneficial to the state,'' he said.

The proposed loan as of now was Rs 500 crore and it could increase to Rs 1,000 crore, Mr Vishwam said.

Regarding the National Highways, he said the government was asked to clear the decks for the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) method for widening and maintenance works. The Chief Minister, the Minister concerned and the officials should discuss the issue with the Centre.

''The Centre has maintained that it would not give sanction to the maintenance and widening of the NHs unless the state government agreed to its proposals. Taking into consideration the prevailing situation of the NHs, the government has been asked to clear the decks.'' The state government had not signed the State Support Agreement objecting to the toll collection on these stretches. ''The people of the state could not afford the huge toll and all these aspects should find place in the discussions,'' Mr Vishwam said.

The Front also appealed to the Centre to immediately file an appeal in the Supreme Court to vacate the ban of palmoil import by the High Court. The ban could adversely affect the coconut farmers, he added.

UNI

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